“If you check your moles every few months, and you notice an unusual-looking or new or changing mole, it is important to get it checked by an expert without delay. Many people make the mistake of thinking skin cancer is trivial. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, affecting 1 in 10 people. Whilst caught early, Melanoma is easily treated – caught too late it can kill. Rates of melanoma are increasing faster than any other cancer. The MOLE Clinic believe early detection would reduce the number of deaths drastically in the UK, which currently stands at over 2,000 per year (more than Australia).
“Early detection is key to saving lives, self-monitoring is key to prevention.
“Skin cancer is caused by UV damage done to your skin – either by too much sun or sun bed use. Even a sunburn in childhood can cause skin cancer in an adult. Generally, people are only usually aware about the risk of skin cancer when on holiday and the sun is shining. During winter months, our bodies are covered up more, meaning we are less likely to spot a mole that is a potential problem. Whilst skin cancer can affect anybody, lighter skinned people and those with lots of moles are at higher risk.
“Skin cancers have more chance to spread the longer they are left. By check your moles regularly and spotting any signs of change you can help detect any skin cancer early – which greatly improves prognosis. A change of size, shape and colour in moles may indicate skin cancer. Normal moles do change very gradually over years but more noticeable changes should be checked by an expert. Mole removal, whether of a suspicious mole or for cosmetic reasons is usually a quick, simple and painless procedure. It is done under local anaesthetic at a clinic such as The MOLE Clinic, where consultant dermatologists or surgeons advise on the most appropriate procedure to remove the mole.
“According to Skin Cancer Screening Nurse, Claire Crilly, at The MOLE Clinic (www.themoleclinic.co.uk), self-monitoring is easier than you think. Just follow the ‘ABCDE rule’ on what you should be looking out for.
- A: Look for moles that are asymmetrical in shape, where one half of the mole is unlike the other
- B: Does the mole have an irregular border? Is it scalloped, jagged or poorly defined?
- C: Is the colour of the mole different from one area to another or does it have different shades of tan, brown or black?
- D: Check the diameter of the mole to see if it is bigger than 7mm (about the size of the end of a pencil)
- E: Is the mole evolving or changing size, shape or colour?
“It is really important to take note of ‘E’, as any mole that is evolving or changing needs to be examined by an expert like The MOLE Clinic right away. With skin cancer, only early detection saves lives – if you follow the above guidelines, it’s easy as ABCDE to keep your skin-health in check.”